Art enthusiasts will be the judges during Third Friday's art walk as Art du Jour Gallery holds a people's choice photography contest, and at Rogue Gallery & Art Center, Rogue Valley artist Linda Elesiya Evans will show new pastels and oil paintings inspired by the Oregon Coast, Crater Lake National Park and rugged mountains.
The downtown Medford galleries will host receptions with refreshments during the art walk from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15. Craig Evans will perform live music at the Rogue Gallery, 40 S. Bartlett St., and Minstrel Streams will play at Art du Jour, 213 E. Main St.
Visitors to Art du Jour can vote for their favorite photograph in the People's Choice Photography Exhibit. The contest of professional-caliber work runs through Sept. 30. The winner will receive $50, with the winning photograph kept on display at the gallery through October.
Judy Benson LaNier of Singing Swan Natural Images entered a close-up view of a bobcat that captures every detail of the feline's sparkling green eyes, patterned fur and stiff white whiskers.
LaNier says she took the photograph on a day when artists were invited to visit the Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center in Merlin.
The center rehabilitates and releases sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. Animals that cannot be released back into the wild are integrated into Wildlife Images' educational programs as either educational ambassadors or permanent residents.
LaNier says she was inspired by the animals during her visit.
"I was lucky enough to get several wonderful photographs of lots of different animals there. That particular photo of the bobcat is one of my favorites," she says.
LaNier has a long history of photographing wildlife. She's led photo safari expeditions in Africa — going out for 10 hours each day for two weeks. The tourist safaris helped support the economies of local communities while providing an incentive for the preservation and protection of wildlife.
"It was a very worthwhile program," says LaNier, who still enjoys photographing animals, birds, flowers and butterflies.
Andrew Sha entered a striking, large-scale photograph of a plane that crashed on a beach in 1973 in Iceland. It took a hike of more than two miles to reach the crash site, but he was rewarded with an otherworldly view of the downed plane with northern lights in the background.
Closer to home, Charles Simmons entered a photo of a massive wave crashing into a rock, while Patricia Ajhar is showing a close-up view of bull kelp and jelly-like creatures washed up on an ocean shore.
Other contestants are Bee Bantug, Marilyn Foreman, John Hawkins, Howard Hunt, Ted Krempa, Susie Lee, Adam Marland, Kate Morracco, Chuck Myer, Linda Purdom and Chelsea Zupan.
Also at Art du Jour, gallery member Virginia Doak will show whimsical watercolor and acrylic paintings on the gallery's feature wall this month, and an exhibit of Penny Simmons' old master-style landscape oil paintings continues in the gallery's Salon space.
Art du Jour's hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call 541-770-3190 or see artdujourgallery.com.
At the Rogue Gallery, Evans' accomplished pastel and oil paintings will take viewers on a virtual tour of Oregon, from the coast to Crater Lake.
"I grew up in California. Every year, I would go on a vacation to Carmel. I fell in love with the ocean and the galleries my mother would take me to," says Evans, who now lives in Phoenix. "I never imagined I could do anything like that. Living in the Rogue Valley, the ocean is within a few hours drive. I go every summer to the ocean. The coast is so unspoiled here."
She captured that natural beauty in "Seaside Garden," a pastel work showing blooming succulent plants in the foreground against the backdrop of Otter Point, a craggy coastal outcropping.
In "Cove Cliffs," waves swirl around towering, rugged rocks as seagulls wheel overhead.
The focus shifts to Crater Lake with "Edge View," which offers a view from the rim of the iconic lake. Evans created the pastel painting after an August 2016 visit to the national park.
"It was summer, but there was still melting snow. I was amazed to see it still there," she says. "I added a touch of pink because the altitude is very high there and the atmosphere catches the sun."
With "Ancient Sentinel," Evans depicts a grizzled white bark pine tree fighting for survival on the caldera rim. The trees can live for hundreds of years and their cones are an important food source for high-elevation animals such as the Clark's nutcracker.
"Going to Crater Lake was astonishing," Evans says. "I was in complete awe. It's like going to Yosemite. It has that grandeur."
"Abstract Perceptions: Paintings by Vince Carl and Susan Lehman" continues through Sept. 22 in the Rogue Gallery's main exhibition room.
Rogue Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Call 541-772-8118 or see www.roguegallery.org.